What’s Behind Entertainment’s Religious Kick

Why is mainstream Hollywood suddenly making religious-themed programming? “First, and perhaps most important, is the general misperception – shared by Hollywood – that the number of evangelical Christians in the United States is growing. According to church estimates, the actual number (somewhere between 25 million and 75 million, depending on the definition) has remained steady over the past three decades. Instead, the Christian entertainment industry has simply become more sophisticated.”

Is US Falling Behind In Basic Research?

The US has been a world leader in basic research for generations. But budgets for that research on many levels is being cut. Many scientists fear that “the United States unwittingly may be positioning itself for a long, steady decline in basic research – a key engine for economic growth – at a time when competitors from Europe and Asia are hot on America’s heels.”

Video “Cleaning” Riles Artists

A growing number of companies are offering “sanitized” versions of music and movies. They remove scenes or language they believe is offensive and sell the cleaned up versions. But what about the integrity of the original work? What about the rights of the artist to control how his or her work is used? “The challenge of ensuring artistic integrity in a digital age will only grow as the free market offers new ways to customize what we view, read and hear. Copyright protections have changed enormously since the introduction of the printing press to England in the late 15th century. They’re about to change again.”

The First Fiction Tour

Take a group of emerging writers, put them in a bar and watch the crowds roll in. “Whenever I would see a band in a bar, I’d be amazed that the place would be packed even if the band was terrible. So I started to think, what if we brought book writers and readers together in places other than bookstores. Of course, we didn’t invent this — Allen Ginsburg did this years ago in bars in New York. But we also wanted to take books to where the people are since they weren’t coming to bookstores. And we wanted to try to make writers of literature as cool as rock stars.”

Ex-Concertmaster And Seattle Symphony Dispute Gets Very Public

A dispute between the Seattle Symphony and violinist Ilka Talvi, who was the orchestra’s concertmaster for 20 years until he was fired by the SSO last summer, has gotten ugly and very public since Talvi started a blog (http://schmaltzuberalles.blogspot.com/) airing criticisms of the orchestra. Talvi’s accusations have “led to Internet accusations, police involvement and the threat of legal action.”

Nagano Wows Montreal, Orchestra Contract Mars Great Start

“All four of Kent Nagano’s first concerts with the Montreal Symphony since he accepted his new job were sold out, and the overwhelming consensus was that the 53-year-old American has what it takes to revive the OSM’s artistic fortunes. He launched a new composition prize, charmed the public with interviews and comments from the stage, and helped the orchestra sound at least as good as it did during its glory years with Charles Dutoit.” But a bitter contract negotiation with musicians is a black cloud…